‘Hamilton’ cast may save Hamilton on $10 Federal Reserve note

Debate over women on U.S. paper money continues with Broadway visit, opinion piece in newspaper
By , Special to Coin World
Published : 03/25/16
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Opposing factions in the debate over women on American currency have staked out their battlefield on the pages of the New York Times. The Theater section of the March 17 issue offers a breath of relief to fans of Alexander Hamilton with the news that he “may stay on the $10 bill thanks to help from Broadway.”

It has been widely reported that the cast of the hit Broadway show Hamilton visited and performed at the White House on March 14. Mostly unmentioned until the Times reported it is that the show’s star and creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, visited with Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew before the performance. Besides a tour, there was a discussion about the future of the $10 bill, in which Miranda says he was told by the secretary that “you’re going to be very happy” with the new note.

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The Times says that the Treasury Department did not dispute Mr. Miranda’s comments, adding that Lew “reiterated his commitment to continue to honor Alexander Hamilton on the 10 dollar bill.” Since it is a given that the new bill will also feature one or more women, is it possible that the United States will be following the Australian model of a male on one side and a female on the other?

On the next day’s op-ed page, “A Woman’s Shot at the $20” upped the ante. The piece was written by Susan Ades Stone and Barbara Ortiz Howard, executive director and founder of the Women On 20s organization. They rejected Lew’s plans in their entirety. They said there was little evidence that the public would support what they called a compromise and that “anything short of a simultaneous redesign of the $20 bill giving women a place of their own is an affront.” They went on to say that since the $10 bill represents only 5 percent of the paper in circulation, its use is not acceptable to them but is sufficient to “preserve and celebrate the legacy of Alexander Hamilton.”

They went on to cite the familiar and valid arguments for why Jackson needed to be removed from the $20 note and replaced by Harriet Tubman (the winner of their online poll of 500,000 people, or less than 2 tenths of 1 percent of the U.S. population). They say political will is the only thing impeding an immediate redesign of the $20 note.

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